In These Arms

Bella is your typical teenage girl, sure she has her ups and downs but that's besides the point. She is happily living in the UK with her loving parents and her big sister Amy who is more like her best friend. With good grades, plenty of friends and a boyfriend, Bella's life couldn't be more complete. She soon discovers that life is never that easy. Upon learning the death of her sister Amy who was tragically killed in a car accident, Bella's life starts spiralling out of control. Between moving countries and adjusting to a new school, Bella struggles to move forward with the loss of her sister. Her cousin Scott who has always been more of a brother is thrilled to have her living in America which is where her parents decided to relocate. He soon discovers that she is not the same bubbly and happy girl she used to be. Can he get her to open up and attempt to put her broken heart back together? Or can Scott's best friend Liam who takes a shine to Bella help her through her grievance? I

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16. Chapter 16

~~Bella was sitting in the library the next day finishing up some last minute homework, honestly she was happy to get away from everyone. Hardly nobody ever visited the library which was the way she liked it, it was the only place in this school where she could disappear. Hiding away wasn't the answer, she knew that, but right now she didn't care. The relationship she had with Liam was tarnished for good and there was nothing she could do to mend it. She had made a complete fool of herself yesterday, how could she take that back? Not only did she let herself down, but so did he. For the first time since she had known him, he disappointed her. So why did she miss him so much?

"Bella," she heard, making her head shoot up.

"Hi, Mr. Collins," she smiled weakly.

"Last minute homework?" he asked, pointing towards the papers in front of her which just so happened to belong to his lesson.

"Uhh..."

"Was the assignment I gave you too hard?"

Bella stayed silent for a minute before jerking her head back towards him, "No," she muttered, there was no point in lying she already had a week of detention to look forward to. "So I guess this means another detention right?" she sighed defeated.

Bella stayed quiet and was a little surprised when he took a seat next to her. Great she thought, what lecture am I gonna hear now?

"Well, I guess that depends on what excuse I'm about to hear."

Bella leaned back in her chair and stared at her hands in her lap. "Actually, I don't really have one, sorry," she replied quietly.

She watched him out of the corner of her eye as he nodded his head and leaned forwards, his arms resting on top of the table. "High school," he started. "A pain in the ass huh?"

Her head shot back up in surprise making him chuckle. "I hated every second of mine," he continued. "Couldn't wait for it to be over!"

"And yet you became a teacher?"

Mr Collins chuckled to himself, "Pretty hypocritical right?" he replied, making her smile. "College was the high point of my life."

"Is that when you decided to teach?" she asked.

"No, that's when I fell in love," he stated, looking over at her. "You know Bella, people are always going to talk, they might not know all the facts, hell none of it could be true, but if that's the only good thing going on in their sad little lives, then you may as well give them something good to talk about," he smiled kindly.

Bella smiled back, not sure whether to feel embarrassed or not that he had probably heard the rumours himself, though from what he was saying she felt like a part of him knew it was a lie.

"By the way, I had a word with your science teacher, he's giving you a warning this time, let's not have a repeat, ok," he told her.

"Thank you, you didn't have to do that."

"Just make sure that paper is finished and on my desk by the end of the lesson ok," he said, standing up. Bella nodded her head with a smile.

"Mr Collins," she called out before he walked away.

"Yes?"

She looked down nervously before asking, "Would it be asking too much if maybe you could help out Liam as well? It wasn't his fault, he was only sticking up for me."

"I can't do that, after all he was the one who started the fight," he noted.

"Right," she nodded.

"See you in class Miss Roberts."

And with that he walked away leaving her alone with her thoughts.

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After finishing her assignment, Bella walked back to her locker and grabbed her books she needed for the next class and placed them in her book bag. It hadn't taken long for her to finish it and thankfully  she didn't have to worry about any detentions. Shutting her locker she began to walk away when her shirt was suddenly soaked. Bella gasped from the coldness that was running down her shirt and looked up to find the guy who had ran into her who was trying to choke down a laugh.

"Sorry," he shrugged with a small smirk on his face. Bella felt like smacking that stupid smile off his face but instead she quickly covered her chest, trying to divert his eyes away from staring at her breasts.

"Want me to wipe that dry for you?" he winked, making a few people who were standing nearby laugh.

Bella could feel the tears boiling up but refused to show him any satisfaction, instead she turned to walk away but was cut off by the one person she had been dreading to see standing in her way. His gaze travelled down her wet top and then to the guy still standing behind her. She grabbed hold of his arm as he stepped towards the guy, making him cower away.

"Liam don't! Just leave it, it was an accident," she blurted out, keeping her hold on his arm.

"Yeah, it was just an accident," the guy repeated mockingly, doing nothing to lower Liam's anger.

"Wanna try accidentally bumping into me?" he growled.

"Whatever man," the guy snickered before walking away.

Bella dragged Liam's arm back again when he tried going after him, "Liam please, he's not worth it," she sighed, shaking her head at his eagerness for a fight and began walking away herself.

"Bella, I'm sorry," he stated, standing in her way. "Come on, I have a hoodie in my locker you can borrow."

"No, that's ok," she said.

Liam frowned slightly and quickly looked down at her chest before looking away, "I think you might want it."

Bella looked down curiously and noticed how see through her top had become, the disadvantage of wearing white. No wonder that guy ran into her on purpose. She quickly covered her chest, feeling more embarrassed then ever and by the look on Liam's face, so was he.

"Ok," she replied, wishing she could just crawl up in a ball somewhere and hide away forever.

She followed Liam to his locker where he handed her a black hoodie with a small design on the back. If she wasn't mistaken this was the hoodie he had worn that day they met in the halls. Black really did suit him she thought to herself. Bella thanked him as she took it from him and slipped into the girls bathroom to change. Taking her top off, she tossed it into one of the side pockets on her bag, her bra was still a little wet but there wasn't much she could do about that and she was definitely not going to walk around with just a hoodie and no bra.

Bella slipped the hoodie over her head, loving the way it smelt just like Liam which made her regret taking it all together. It was hard enough trying not to think about him and now it just made that more impossible. She was surprised to find him waiting for her once she was done, leaning against his locker looking more handsome then ever. Liam watched her intently as she walked towards him, leaving a good space between them. Why did he have to look at her like that, why can't he see what it's doing to her.

"Thanks for letting me borrow this," she muttered, looking down at the hoodie that was way too big for her, not that she was complaining. "I'll get it back to you tomorrow."

"Take your time, it looks better on you anyway," he said, making her cheeks heat up. "Bella," he sighed, moving away from the lockers so he was standing directly in front of her.

"I'm sorry, I should have told you about Dean."

"So why didn't you?"

Bella watched as he slid his hand through his hair letting her mind wander back to how good that had felt doing it herself, she quickly shook her thoughts away and waited for Liam to answer her.

"Honestly," he started. "I wasn't sure how you'd take it. I didn't want to upset you, but I guess I did that anyway." She listened as he talked, wanting nothing more then to tell him it's ok, that they can just go back to being friends and forget this ever happened. But she couldn't, things were different now, even if they did forget about it and move on, things would never be the same between them she just knew it.

"I was at a bar with some friends over the Christmas break, everything was going great until Dean came in. He tried pushing me over the edge all night but I did nothing, then he started bad mouthing you to some guys, saying he wouldn't stop until you finally gave into him."

"And then what?" she asked, noticing his hesitation to continue.

Liam looked away from her before replying, "Then I just snapped. I couldn't help it Bella, if you had heard what he was... I didn't know that it would cause all this, but what was I supposed to do? Let him talk about you like that? Because that I won't allow." He paused before continuing, "You know I never meant to hurt you."

Bella turned her head up to look at him, silently studying him, just like he had done a million times with her. She knew he meant it and of course she believed him, she knew he would never hurt her intentionally.

"I know. But it doesn't change things Liam. I know you were just looking out for me but, you didn't have to fight him, you could have walked away," she told him. "I was trying so hard to move on and now... now everything is back to the way it was."

They both stood there in silence, his eyes never leaving hers. She could feel it, that feeling boiling up inside of her as Liam watched her with that same intense stare he had given her before she practically threw herself at him, she had felt so scared that day and couldn't believe it when he started kissing her back. Would he do it again she wondered? Would he let her? He stepped forwards making her snap back to reality.

"I have to get to class," she blurted out, taking a step back.

Liam noticed this and his face instantly flooded with sympathy, "Bella," he started, but before he could say anymore she walked away and this time he let her.

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Bella woke up to the sound of her blaring alarm clock that morning. She slowly opened her eyes, the annoyingly loud racket screaming in her head. She raked one arm out from under her covers and tried to locate the right button. Finally, silence.

Pulling the covers over her head she turned to curl herself up in a ball wishing she could stay like this forever...well maybe not forever, but just long enough for everyone at school to forget her name and if possible her existence. Bella opened her eyes wide as she felt something light crawling up her leg causing her to gasp and bolt out of bed. She tossed the covers back in a panic expecting there to be a big creepy crawly, but instead she found an arm...that's right an arm, that belonged to a very annoying giggling Scott.

"Scott," she yelled. "You scared the crap out of me!"

"Sorry couldn't resist, oh you should have seen your face," he laughed.

"Funny is it?" she grinned.

Bella quickly lunged at him which he automatically dodged sending her in a tumble on the floor, which of course only made him laugh even harder. Extremely annoyed now, she got back up and chased him around the room, jumping up onto his back. He tossed and turned trying to jolt her off but failed each time making her giggle. She knew if he really wanted to he could easily get her off but he always let her win.

"Alright you guys, that's enough," Bella's mum said, unaware by the two teens that she had walked in. "You better get your shower Bella."

"Not until Scott declares me the winner," she announced, nuzzling Scott's hair. "Never," he laughed. "Really?" she grinned evilly.

Bella started tickling his underarms with one hand while keeping hold of him with the other, making him laugh uncontrollably.

"Ok, ok stop, you win, you win," he begged in between laughs.

"Haha, thank you," she grinned cheerfully.

"Alright now shower," her mum smiled.

"Ok i'm going," Bella replied, letting go of Scott, her feet now firmly on the ground.

Bella waited for them both to leave before walking over towards the window and opening her shades. Another cold day. Walking into her bathroom, she got undressed and hopped in the shower. Not bothering with her hair, she decided to put it up in a messy bun, not really caring what she looked like. She threw on some jeans and a red t-shirt with a thick black cardigan, don't want another day like yesterday she thought. Also not bothering with any makeup, she put on her black converse and headed downstairs.

"Finally, what took you so long?" Scott complained, making her frown. "What do you mean?" she asked.

"We have to leave like now!" he answered.

"I was in the shower that long?" she questioned, she could have sworn she had only taken about ten minutes...or was it longer then that?

"Yes, here for the road," he said, handing her a bagel with her favourite Philadelphia cream on top. Before she could bite into it she was being hastily moved out the front door.

"Wait my bag," she exclaimed. Scott went back inside coming out with her bag which she took gratefully.

"Oh wait my coat," she exclaimed again, making him roll his eyes in frustration, but nonetheless went back inside to retrieve her coat. She giggled when he handed it to her, payback she thought.

"Oh wait -"

"What now?" he interrupted, clearly annoyed now.

"Nothing," she giggled and made her way to his car.

"Ha ha," he laughed sarcastically.

Scott unlocked the door allowing her to climb in, finally taking a bite of her delicious bagel while she waited for him to get in beside her. She didn't know what she would do without Scott sometimes, especially with days like the ones she had been having. Even though it looked like it annoyed her, which he sometimes did, it always ended in laughs which was his goal in the first place, he always did cheer her up and for that she was grateful. Thankfully he hadn't found out about the incident yesterday and for that she happy. Scooting in next to her, Scott started the engine, the warmth rushing out of the heaters and onto her face making her wish she was still in her nice cosy bed. Just one more day after today and then you can stay in bed all weekend she told herself.

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Bella just stared down at her lunch while listening to her iPod, she didn't even know why she she grabbed any, she wasn't even that hungry. Liam had never showed up for Science today, at first she thought he was skipping, but it looked like he hadn't even shown up at all. Was it because of her she wondered? Was he avoiding her? She wished she had never kissed him that night of the Winter Dance, stupid mistletoe she cursed mentally.

'She Will Be Loved' started playing on her iPod making her frown. Bella couldn't listen to that song anymore without thinking about Liam, she had wondered why he had chosen that song when he had scrolled through her music that day, was she just reading too much into it or was he trying to tell her something? She had listened to the lyrics a thousand times after that and had to admit just how much the song related to them...well except for the whole 'she will be loved' part, Liam was not in love with her.

"Hey," Sam announced as she approached her table, making Bella jump a little at her loud and chirpy voice.

"Hey," she replied back, looking up at a now irritated looking Sam.

"You're hopeless," she exclaimed.

"What?" Bella frowned questioningly.

"Your hair! What if Liam see's you?" she proclaimed.

"Sam, my hair is fine and Liam won't see it because he's not even here and could you please sit down," Bella blabbered.

"Liam's not here? Hmm, that's weird he's never skipped school before. Is he sick or something?" Sam asked, sitting next to Bella.

"I don't know?" she shrugged, so he really was avoiding her.

"Can I braid your hair?"

"Sam!" she huffed.

"Sorry. So did something happen with you and Liam? And don't tell me nothing because I know something did," she proclaimed.

Bella sighed to herself, "I don't know, I guess a little something happened," she told her making her gasp in happiness.

"Tell me everything and don't you dare leave anything out!"

Bella rolled her eyes at Sam's enthusiasm, "We sort of kissed...twice."

"Oh my god! Why didn't you tell me before! Never mind, when was the first time?" she asked, making Bella chuckle.

"The night of the Winter Dance."

Bella ended up telling Sam about that night following up to the "incident" in the snow and his car. Honestly, it felt great getting it off her chest.

 "Wow, that's so hot!"

Bella shook her head and chuckled lightly at Sam. "I do think you're wrong though," Sam added making Bella turn to look at her curiously. "About what?"

"About how Liam feels about you. I've known him longer then you have remember. Seriously Bella, I've never seen him like this with anyone before, not even with Cammy and I'm not joking there. He never looked at her like he does with you," she told her. Bella sat in silence listening to Sam continue.

"The way he looks at you it's like...," she trailed off.

"Like what?" Bella asked impatiently.

Sam just cocked her head to the side and smiled, "Like he's in love with you."

"Sam, he doesn't," Bella sighed, turning her head away.

"How do you know?" Sam asked her, how could he she asked herself? "Look how sweet he is around you, how he's always there for you."

"Yeah, because I'm Scott's little cousin," Bella reminded Sam making her scoff.

"Come on Bella, you know that's not the reason.  Do you really believe he would go through all that trouble just because of Scott?" she asked, making her stop to think.  "If that were the case, why did he take you to the dance? You even said yourself that Scott wasn't exactly all for it right?" she prodded on.

"I know but -"

"He kissed you back Bella," Sam interrupted her. He did kiss her back, she had been surprised herself, but that didn't mean he loved her...did it?  "What more do you need to see how much he cares?" Sam finished, waiting for Bella to answer.

"Sam you don't understand," she muttered quietly. "I don't wanna lose him."

"You won't," Sam pressed on, Bella sighed and turned to face her.

"Can't you see, I already am losing him and it's all my fault. I don't know what he wants from me, but I know it's not love. If I let him have whatever it is that he wants, I know that it would mean more to me," she explained, sighing again before continuing.

"Eventually, he won't want me anymore and I'll be all alone. I can't let that happen, because as selfish as it sounds, I need him right now and I don't know what I would do if I lost that, if I lost him," she finished, chocking back the tears that were threatening to fall.

Sam put her arm around Bella and smiled. "Ok. But just so you know, you will never be alone, me and Santi will make sure of that," she told her, earning her a small smile of her own.

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Bella decided to walk home after school, this time it wasn't snowing and she was much warmer. On the way, she stopped by the park where she and Liam had once spent getting to know each other. She sat on one of the swings and just swayed gently. Her thoughts were running back to what Sam had told her about how Liam cared for her and was in love with her. As much as she wished for that to be true she knew it wasn't the case. Sure he kissed her back and at the time had even surprised her, but when she thought about it that slowly faded. Maybe he does like her back she thought, but if he did she knew it wasn't how she wanted. The last thing she wanted was to be just another "hook-up".

When she arrived home, she spotted her dad sitting in the living room watching some sort of crime show on TV. What was he doing home?

"Hey Pumpkin," he smiled when he noticed her arrival.

"Hey dad, why aren't you at work?" she asked, looking at the time. He still had hours until he was usually home.

"I got the rest of the day off," he answered. "How was school?"

"Fine," she nodded.

"Honey I need to talk to you for a minute," he said. Bella held her breathe in for a second, did he know about Dean she wondered? Oh crap!

"Um ok, do you mind if I go get changed first?"

"Sure, go ahead," he smiled again making her nervous.

"Thanks," she replied and made her way upstairs.

Tossing her bag on the floor, she flopped down on her bed and took a deep breath. What could he want to talk to her about? If it was about Dean how could he have found out? What if it's about Liam? Maybe he wasn't too happy with him taking her to the dance? That could be it she thought. Standing up off her bed, she removed her clothes and replaced them with her favourite pair of baggy sweats and a light pink tank top. Feeling more comfortable she slowly made her way back into the living room where she now found both of her parents waiting for her. Crap!

"Hi honey, how was school?" her mum asked.

"It was ok," she replied, feeling her nerves rushing around, she hadn't even thought about what to tell her parents if they were to find out, to be honest she wasn't prepared for them to ever find out!

"Come sit down," her mum said, tapping the empty space next to her.

"Is everything ok?"  Bella asked, taking a seat next to her mum. Her eyes drifted back and forth between them both, waiting for them to blurt out that they knew everything.

"Everything is fine, we just need to talk to you about something," her mum said, glancing over at her dad for him to start.

"Your mum and me have to go away for a while," he told her. Bella exhaled, not realising that she had been holding her breath, a sense of relief washing through her. She almost laughed over how worried she had been and all for nothing.

"For how long?" Bella asked.

"About three weeks," her dad replied. Three weeks! She thought they only meant the weekend but three weeks!

"Of course, if you're not ok with it then one of us will stay," her mum added, glaring at her dad. She barely saw her parents anymore, ever since they had moved here they both had become extremely busy. She wouldn't admit it to them or anyone else not even Scott, but she missed them.

"But if it's your job then you have to right?" Bella asked them.

"You're more important," her dad told her.

Bella smiled at that, a part of her wanted them to stay, but how could she ask them to do that? They had moved here for her, hoping that starting over would help chase away the pain and the agony including her nightmares, but she still had them. So instead she put on a fake smile and told them, "It's ok, I don't mind."

"Bella, it's alright if you do," her mum told her, unconvinced that she was telling the truth.

"No really, I don't mind, it's only three weeks, I'll be fine," she told them both.

"You're sure?" her dad asked, watching her carefully.

"Yes I'm sure," she nodded.

"Alright, but we're having you stay at your Aunt Judy's house while we're gone," he told her, finally convinced.

"Don't you trust me?" she frowned slightly.

"Of course we do, we just don't want you to be alone," her mum said. "I would worry too much." 

"As I would," her dad added.

"Ok fine," she agreed. If it was anyone else she wouldn't have, but spending time with Scott for three weeks would be fun. "When are you leaving?"

"Your mother doesn't leave until Sunday, but I have to go tomorrow," he informed her making her blink in surprise.

"Wow, already."

"Unfortunately," he nodded. "How about I order us some Chinese and we'll all sit down and watch a movie."

Bella smiled up at her dad, "Like we used to," she muttered, earning a small smile from them both.

When Amy was alive they used to have family night at least once a week, they would order takeout and watch movies and play games. It was great. For some reason that all stopped and she missed it, she missed them.

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